The Delaware Legislature approved a bill just before midnight on June 30 to increase Department of Motor Vehicle Fees—last increased in 1990—for an additional $23.9 million per year for the state’s Transportation Trust Fund.
House Bill 140 was passed by the House on May 14 with a vote of 25-16, and failed in the Senate on June 25 with a vote of 11-10. The bill was recalled on June 30 and passed 15-6, with three Republicans and one Democrat changing their votes to support the transportation funding increase. The revenue generated by HB 140 is expected to be matched by $24 million in borrowing over the next six years.
HB 140 comes one year after the legislature voted to approve a $1 weekend toll hike, to generate $10 million per year for transportation funding. Delaware Department of Transportation officials reported a $780 million deficit for the next six years.
“This legislation represents a significant step in addressing the revenue shortfall in the Transportation Trust Fund that has threatened our ability to ensure the modern infrastructure that is critical to our future,” said Governor Jack Markell (D) in a July 1 press release.
“As I said in January, we have been talking about this issue for too long. Now was the time to act, and the General Assembly delivered. The funding from these efforts will help fix our roads and bridges, promote economic development, and create good construction jobs,” Markell said.
“I support legislation introduced and passed in the Senate to ensure these funds are only used to fund transportation. That is a responsible step to show the public that the increased fees and all funds allocated to the Trust Fund will be used to deal with our infrastructure needs. I thank the members of the General Assembly for coming together to make progress on one of the most important challenges facing our state,” he added.